back to article Free apps suck your power: researchers

As you tap away at your free copy of Angry Birds and sneer at those who pay for games, consider this: how much is it costing you in battery life? Plenty, according to a study conducted by researchers from Microsoft and Purdue University. Their work, which presents the results produced by an energy profiling tool called eprof, …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    thanks El Reg

    Now I know why my battery is flat after my kid borrows my phone to play Angry Birds when we're out and about (and it's not if he plays it at home).

    1. LarsG

      Re: thanks El Reg

      Apparently a BIG fact, I got rid of these free apps, they not only mess the battery up but use your bandwidth as well.

      It is sneaky when the majority, well all of them don't make this plain.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: thanks El Reg

      Why does angry bird need to know where I am?

      Is it to sh*t on me from a great height with a seagul sized message?

      1. deshepherd
        Stop

        Re: thanks El Reg

        "Why does angry bird need to know where I am?"

        So it can serve adverts that are more relevant to you. There was a time when Angry Birds on my android phone would constantly give me ads for things like car insurance in Texas which was of no interest to me and just plain irritating (think possibly linked to my having don't share location selected in system options) . Now it seems yo have worked out I'm in the UK so it now constantly gives me ads for things like Wonga ..... which is also of no interest to me and still just plain irritating!

  2. calonddraig

    "Among the 21 apps tested were browsers, photo uploaders, newspaper apps, mapping, Twitter, browsers"

    ..."You said Browsers twice..." Reply: "Well, I like 'em!"

  3. Toastan Buttar
    WTF?

    Exsqueeze me???

    Why does Angry Birds (ad-supported free edition) need to know your GPS location? How does that work on the iPod Touch?

    1. uhuznaa

      Re: Exsqueeze me???

      Every app that displays ads wants to know where you are (and several things more) and beam it home.

      From the AdMob Privacy Policy (Google):

      "AdMob will automatically collect and receive information about those visitors such as, but not limited to, browser identifiers, session information, browser cookies, device type, carrier provider, IP addresses, unique device ID, carrier user ID, geo-location information, sites visited and clicks on advertisements we display."

      Anyway, one shouldn't overestimate the energy consumption of all this. Most of the power is used for the display anyway.

    2. Paul Shirley

      Re: Exsqueeze me???

      Angry Birds doesn't need it at all and carried on working perfectly with location tracking turned off last time I played (and every other time ;)

      However the adserver they use (and every other server I've seen so far) feels compelled to try to serve location aware advertising. Make it guess instead and save some power... or be really smart and yank the internet permission. On low end phones that makes most games run much better anyway.

      Love to see some more detail on exactly *what* they tested, since Android 2.3+ mailed a lot of the GPS power drain issues. Figures for WM7 would be nice as well ;)

    3. LinkOfHyrule
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Exsqueeze me???

      My advice, if you've got an angry bird who's constantly demanding to know where you are, then she's probably suspecting you're having an affair! Either dump her or go to Relate (or the Jeremy Kyle show and get hooked up to a lie detector and be laughed at by a million unemployed viewers, on national telly).

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: soooo...

      ^ What he said.

  5. scooterboy

    how about a comparison to the PAID app's power preformance.

    The artical would have been complete if you closed the loop with a paid version comparison to the freebies.

    Though, I would hazard a guess that the paid versions also hog bandwidth and power.

    s.

  6. Byron Langslow
    Thumb Up

    @Nathan

    You beat me to it :P

    The first thing i do before opening any free app (that actually doesn't require internets) has wireless, 3g, gps and blootoof turned off.

    No ads in angry birds. No excess power drain.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: @Nathan

      No messaging/email either then..

      1. Ceiling Cat

        Re: @Nathan

        Is messaging/email really that important? Do you have to be reachable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year or else your boss/friends/government (pick one) will think you're dead/ignoring them/plotting terrorist acts (pick one)?

        Sad, I tell you.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Joke

          Re: @Nathan

          I think your being harsh. How on earth are people to find out that their "friend" has just had pasta for dinner, or that they watched an old Bond film on ITV4+1, and have a like for it or how about the important email that tells you you only have 3 months to renew your car insurance?

          See you NEED these things in life, society will collapse without it.

  7. P. Lee

    The only winning move...

    is not to play.

    Ah, 80's Wisdom!

    Anyway aren't these things you play once on your first mobile device and don't bother with ever again?

  8. Andy Fletcher

    Free stuff costs more?

    Who's honestly surprised? "Free" doesn't mean you don't pay for stuff (maybe it should). It means there's a cost the "seller" hopes you'll not notice. I'm surprised to see Reg readers who clearly haven't cottoned on yet.

    1. MikeSM

      Re: Free stuff costs more?

      As the American saying goes:

      "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch!".

  9. g e

    Airplane mode

    Sorted.

    Not like you wanted to be interrupted by a call mid-game anyway.

    1. Martin Budden
      Thumb Up

      Re: Airplane mode

      Brilliant! What a simple way to fix the problem. Now I won't have to worry about my three-year-old clicking on ads by mistake (or out of curiosity) when I let her play "Aaaangry Birdies".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Or you could...

    Actually fix the problem and use AdFree on your rooted Android device.

    Havent seen an in app advert for months.

  11. J. Cook Silver badge
    Go

    Now if they can only explain why the only ads I seem to get when I play angry birds are for those lame "increase your battery by 6541355715%!" scam/useless ads.

  12. EddieD

    I don't normally do biblical quotes, but...

    Matthew ch7, v3*

    Microsoft would be far better to look at the battery drain issues of their "flagship" product, the Lumia 800 than the minor issues of trial apps. I doubt that they could have used a Lumia for these tests - if the battery drain is increased beyond the level the basic O/S causes, I doubt they'd have enough time to launch any apps, let alone measure the increased power drain.

    I know that there are allegedly fixes for this, but no ETA, and having to charge my phone (it having dropped to about 20% after being unplugged before leaving for work) before I go home from work causes my colleagues no end of amusement.

    Other than that I like it, but it is a tad annoying.

    *And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if you root:

    If you root, the way around is AdFree and/or DroidWall : One basically alters the hosts file, the second is your basic firewall.

    But: If too many people block the ads, then makers of these free games won't get paid, so there will be less incentive to make new free games.

    The solution is easy: make ads not suck battery life.

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